On Writing Children's Books & the Business of Being an Author with Rae Rankin (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast Episode 3)
Episode 3: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! A weekly podcast featuring interviews with equine authors who love all things horses and writing about them. In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books then you are in the right place! In this week's episode, you'll meet children's book author Rae Rankin.
You'll learn ...
About Children's Book Author Rae Rankin
Rae Rankin is an independent marketing and graphic design consultant transplanted from sunny central California to the wilds of Utah. After two landlocked years (no the Great Salt Lake is not a substitute), her family was transferred to the Pacific Northwest. Four years later, she has come full circle and returned to California.
Rae has always had a passion for writing and reading. Cowgirl Lessons is her first children’s book. Her second children's book, Beach Day, and her third children's book, Cowgirl Christmas, were released in 2018. She is currently working on a fifth children's book.
Rae lives with a loving, supportive husband; teenage equestrian daughter; a dog who has her own business cards; and a neurotic cat who eats plastic house plants.
Watch Rae Rankin's Interview on YouTube
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Rae Rankin Podcast Interview Excerpt
Carly: What excites you about writing children's books?
Rae: I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but I had never published anything which leads us to Cowgirl Lessons. I had heard that our loving Duchess, the horse that my daughter rode, had passed away and I wanted to memorialize her because she had such an impact on all the kids that rode her. I wanted to keep her alive if you will, so I started writing what I thought was going to be just a poem. The more I got into it, I realized I could turn it into a children's book and share that love with everybody. As soon as I had written that first one, it was like I kind of found myself. I love seeing that connection with the kids and their parents when they read the books together. and after that first book.
Carly: You decided to independently publish your children's books. Why did you decide to go that route?
Rae: I did a bunch of research and it was interesting that when you work with children's books that the publisher just wants a story. They don't want the artwork, so you don't have any control over that. I decided I would use the self-publishing route because I am in control of everything. I control the art. I control the editing. I control how I market my books. It's working for me.
Carly: How did you go about finding your illustrator for your wonderful children's books?
Rae: I actually found my illustrator on Fiverr. There's pluses and minuses to Fiverr. I say go in and check it out. It's great, but go in with caution. There are some people out there who want to take advantage of people like us. I got lucky and I found Jason who is an art student in Peru of all places and I started working with him on Cowgirl Lessons. I work directly with him now.
The thing about finding an illustrator is obviously to find someone who creates art that for what you want. I work illustration by illustration with him. It's just easier for me to work with him one at a time. Also, I own the commercial right for all the art. I can use the art for commercial, so I can put it on cards, posters, or anything like that and sell it if I wanted to. That's really critical.
Read Rae's blog post on illustrations here:
Carly: I had a lot of fun preparing for this interview galloping around your website and your blog taking a look at the things that you're up to. You have some really informative blog posts. You wrote a blog post about the importance of ISBNs. This this topic I know can be confusing for a new author. Would talk about ISBNs and why knowing about them is really important for a book's success?
Rae: The most critical thing is every book that's published has to have an identification number. It's easy to use a free identifier offered by some book publishing platforms, but I don't recommend that. It goes back to control. If you're using your own numbers identifying your books, you have full and complete control. You want to make sure you can get your book into a school, into a library, into Barnes & Noble, or independent bookstores.
Carly: Where can author's get their own ISBN numbers that work for all the major book distributors?
Rae: Bowker.com. They are the only official place. It's only seller of the official ISBN.
Read Rae's informative blog post on ISBNs here:
Read Rae's blog post on the business of book publishing here: